02/23/13 — Eastern Wayne girls win ECC 3-A championship

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Eastern Wayne girls win ECC 3-A championship

By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on February 23, 2013 11:06 PM

Regardless of the opponent, the location or the time of the game, Eastern Wayne has owned the Eastern Carolina 3-A Conference all season.

Friday night was no different.

The Warriors forced 47 turnovers and held Triton to three points in the fourth quarter of a 58-33 rout in the finals of the ECC girls' basketball tournament.

Eastern Wayne captured its first ECC tournament title since 2008.

Elondia Grant scored 13 points for the Warriors. Tianna Christopher, Jasmine Covington and Apriann Sutton each contributed nine points.

"This is big for our program especially since we finished undefeated in the conference," Eastern Wayne head coach Tyrone Wagner said. "We achieved a lot of goals this year to go undefeated in the conference, to win the conference championship and to win the conference tournament."

The game started roughly 90 minutes late after being relocated to Eastern Wayne Middle School due to a leak in the gymnasium's ceiling at the high school.

The second-seeded Hawks (13-13 overall) struggled throughout the first half with the Warriors' tenacious ball pressure and full-court press. Triton turned the ball over 26 times during the first two quarters.

"We changed our press up from the first half of the season," Wagner said. "We've added different zone presses and when they get comfortable with one we'll switch it to something new and go to a man-to-man press."

Eastern Wayne (25-1 overall) persevered through a scoring drought that spanned nearly five minutes in the second quarter. Tamiya Dortch's layup and Covington's free throw helped the Warriors take a 26-18 lead into halftime.

Eastern Wayne continued to convert turnovers into easy transition baskets and its lead grew to 34-22 midway through the third quarter. The Hawks used a 10-2 run to pull within 36-32 early in the fourth quarter.

Sutton knocked down a 3-pointer and a long jump shot on consecutive Warriors' possessions. Christopher buried a 3-pointer and the Warriors closed the game with a dominating 22-1 spurt.

"Apriann did a good job," Wagner said. "Her shot wasn't there as much this year as it was last year but those two shots gave us some confidence. We're looking for her to give us a big lift as we go into the state tournament."

Triton was held to just one point over the final 7 1/2 minutes.